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Spinach Pasta Sauce Recipe

People are always surprised to hear that the "secret" ingredient in this special sauce is to add a touch of anise. The herb nicely complements the zippy Italian sausage and chunky tomatoes.—Margaret Allen, Abingdon, Virginia
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 1 hour YIELD:8-10 servings


  • 1-1/2 pounds bulk mild Italian sausage
  • 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup each chopped carrot, green pepper and onion
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup beef broth or red wine
  • 3/4 teaspoon each aniseed, seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar, dried basil and oregano
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
  • Hot cooked pasta
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon


  • 1. In a Dutch oven, cook and crumble sausage until browned; drain. Add mushrooms, carrot, green pepper and onion; saute for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, Parmesan, broth and seasonings; cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add spinach; heat through. Serve over pasta; top with mozzarella and bacon. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 274 calories, 16g fat (7g saturated fat), 50mg cholesterol, 1049mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 18g protein.

Reviews for Spinach Pasta Sauce

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Reviewed Jan. 13, 2017

"We did a vegetarian version of this because we were out of sausage and bacon. It makes a nice thick sauce for pasta. Even the family members who don't love spinach enjoyed this recipe!

We also didn't have anise, but I'd definitely like to try this again sometime with that secret ingredient."

Reviewed Jan. 7, 2014

"I have been making this sauce since it was first published in 1996! My family loves it. I never told the kids there was spinach in it though! This freezes well too. It is a keeper!"

Reviewed Jun. 10, 2013

"This is our go to recipe for spaghetti sauce, it's so good and it's a great way to sneak in spinach!"

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